Last weekend I had the privilege of leading around 100 – 150 twelve to sixteen year olds in worship at our regional Newfrontiers conference. Sharing the sessions with me was Owen Hayward from Plymouth, a great guy with bags of gifting for leading worship and more administrative gifting than myself ;-).
It certainly felt like it was going to be a challenge. A lot of our teens are used to going to Newday each year, an experience that includes an enormous sound system and about 6000 other teenagers. Comparisons are inevitably made. You’ve got to do things completely differently. There’s not much point in trying to replicate the same thing with 3% of the numbers. Sure our sound system was big enough for our context and we made enough noise to make ourselves heard across the whole site, but we had an opportunity to do something that arguably Newday can’t achieve.
So here we go. Here’s what God taught me and reinforced in my thinking through the experience.
- Small gatherings enable more body ministry, allowing us to be built together more. God’s voice becomes ‘broader and louder’.
Our youth are great and ready to own responsibility for the others in the room. During each session we had kids who were ready to prophesy, bring words of knowledge (knowing about things that only God could know, often regarding illness or disability), pray for healing, bring messages in languages given by the Spirit and interpret them. I saw kids who wouldn’t have dreamed of sharing in a regular, adult Sunday morning meeting developing in spiritual gifts they probably never had faith to use before. When the body of the church starts ministering to each other, it makes front-led ministry pale in comparison. I’m sure God did far more in the gaps between the songs I played than He did with the songs themselves. Why limit yourself to one person relating what God is doing when you can have three or four? We get a much broader perspective of who God is and what He is saying to us.
- No matter how good or important you think the next song on your list is, the direction the Spirit wants to go in is always better.
In my first two sessions, I was about to start my 3rd song when on both occasions God said to me ‘go intimate now’. On both occasions they were big songs I was itching to play, especially my new one during the first session! Instead, I sang out in tongues (my spiritual prayer language) and waited for an interpretation so we could all say amen. The first time it happened, a young lad interpreted, the second time, I did. Immediately we had prophecies, words of knowledge and several people got healed. Had I stayed on my alternative course, I’m sure there wouldn’t have been time to get through all of that which God ended up doing!
- Enjoy the day of small things.
It’s a fast track to maturity. God teaches you loads and gives you a bigger perspective of how His Kingdom works, that He is inclusive and wants multiple gifts on offer.
- Our region has a phenomenal future.
If some of our young men and women continue on their current trajectory then we are going to have some brilliant leaders from their generation. These guys are unashamed and own the vision of building the Kingdom of God with their whole hearts. I hope they keep the childlike faith that led to so many getting healed and ministered to.
- Tongues and interpretations are the equivalent of spiritual dynamite!
Nothing triggers things spiritually like using the prayer language that the Spirit gives. It’s something so clearly not of this world and waiting on God for an interpretation gets our ears in tune, opening us up to His voice so we can receive prophecies and words of knowledge.
All in all, Ignite was fantastic. Duncan Lee led the team brilliantly. We saw God working in minds, hearts and bodies, we knew His presence was going with us and that He delights in us and what we’re doing.
Ignite is the future.